Thailand's 40% drop in new Coronavirus cases since mid-August has been cause for guarded optimism - hope that Thailand and the World have seen the worst of the Pandemic. While it is too soon to draw any conclusions for Thailand - and inscribe them in stone, the slowing of the CoV-19 spread has brought about some easing of the Partial Lockdown by the Thai Government (a detailed breakout found below). Should Thailand's Covid numbers continue to drop, it is reasonable to expect these limited freedoms will be expanded upon, however, those in the Entertainment Industry are well aware that they will be the last to see any relief from the lockdown.
Streetlights accentuate the ghost town that is Soi Cowboy. How many Nitespots will survive these Dark Ages?
We at MIDNITE HOUR continue to track the Coronavirus globally and locally in order to provide readers with realistic expectations as to when there might be a semblance of a "New Normal" - where tourism in Thailand will be reinstated and the Night Entertainment Industry will reopen. Should current trends continue without new flare-ups, it is possible that by November 2021 the numbers of cases of Covid will be low enough to both reinstate tourism and reopen Night Entertainment. Having said that, we can expect that Thai Immigration will be slow in lifting the paperwork burden required to travel to Thailand, and that once tourists return, the in-country requirements for proof of vaccination and recent Covid tests will be widespread. (So don't throw away your masks.) It is also reasonable to expect that the gamut of standard preventives will linger for many months after Thailand 'reopens'. To say the same thing another way, it is an unrealistic expectation that Thailand will somehow immediately snap-back to pre-Covid conditions, and Thailand -inclusive of Bangkok- will carry on as if the Coronavirus were suddenly eradicated from the face of the earth.
On 28 August, the Prime Minister'sCentre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced a relaxation in the current partial lockdown. The new guidelines become effective 1 September 2021. The published documents are reproduced below, and will remain in effect until further notice...
Immediately after the above guidelines were published, the Government issued a short-list of revisions : We can expect that the requirement to show proof of vaccination and / or recent Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test will not only continue well into the future, but will expand in scope - the number and types of facilities requiring these proofs is likely to continue to expand.
1.Diners in restaurants must be immunized with Covid vaccine - 2 injections.
2.Department Store employees who serve customers must be immunized - 2 injections.
3. The authorization to use sports / exercise facilities does not include "Fitness" studios.
4.Public transport vehicles - Seating not to exceed 75% of capacity. Drivers must be inoculated - 2 injections.
5.Passengers on aircraft must be able to show proof of at least 1 Covid vaccination, or a recent Covid test.
The "Dark Red" Provinces
as Noted in the Above Graphic, As Of 01 August 2021
The 'Dark-Red Zone' includes the following 13 Provinces ; Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri and Ayutthaya and four southern provinces Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla. These 13 Provinces have road blocks and checkpoints in place to prevent unauthorized movement.
From a purely 'chartist' assessment, should the rate of decline in new cases continue as currently trending, Thailand could be essentially down to a few hundred CoV-19 cases per day by 1 November. This is not to be assumed, however, as there is always the possibility of another surge. Careful management must continue, to include universal vaccinations - including 'booster' re-vaccination, and social hygiene.
In summation, all forms of Night Entertainment - barring 'Foot Massage' - are officially closed, other than that which might be found in the Phuket Sandbox and the Koh Samui 'Plus Plan'. (Both plans have only realized about 1/3 the original bookings - claims that tourists there will be able to travel to other parts of Thailand afterward are no longer guaranteed...). As mentioned above, even if the Coronavirus continues to abate in a linear fashion, the best that can be hoped for is that tourism and the Night Entertainment Scene will not likely see an upturn until 01 November of this year (estimated). We will continue to update in future issues as conditions change.
IF YOU'RE PLANNING TO TRAVEL...
(REPRINTED BY REQUEST FROM PREVIOUS MONTHS)
General Information for Travelers to Thailand From the USA. (Not specific to the "Sand Box).
The following procedure / documents are required. Note: These procedures / guidelines are subject to change, so periodic coordination with the Thai Consulate nearest you is recommended. Those arriving in Thailand from other countries may find variations to these guidelines.
1. Negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Covid-19 Virus within 72 hours of boarding their flight to BKK or HKT [Phuket] airports.
2. Covid-19 vaccination certificate, dated within 14 days to 1 year prior to their arrival.
3. If the traveler is hoping to be in the 14-day Phuket 'sandbox program', then they can only fly directly into Phuket, no transfers in Bangkok allowed. Tourists will need to spend 14 nights in Phuket before being allowed to travel elsewhere in the Kingdom (This is now no longer guaranteed.)
4. COE ( = Certificate of Entry) from a local Thai embassy.. https://coethailand.mfa.go.th . Fill in the online application for COE at least 15 working days before the intend date of travel. Please note, the following documents are required to be uploaded to the COE website prior to issuing the COE:
- Valid Visa and/ or re-entry permit.
- Certificate of Residence. [if you have one]
- Covid-19 medical insurance coverage of US$100,000.. The insurance should have the following information :
* Medical costs that cover COVID-19 treatment in Thailand;
* Period of the insurance policy ( start / end ) and cover the period of stay in Thailand;
* Minimum coverage of 100,000 USD of medical costs.
* ASQ Confirmation of a 14-day booking of an ASQ hotel [ = Alternative State Quarantine hotel].
Note: the traveler must stay at an officially approved hotel, certified by the Amazing Thailand Safely & Health Administration. [called an ALQ?]
- A copy of flight confirmation/ reservation, showing going from US to Thailand. (The name of the applicant must be indicated clearly)
- Please note: use the arrow button to be sure the document is uploaded properly.
5. All arrivals will need to download the contact-tracing app, Thailand Plus.
6. ( For the 14 days in Phuket, the traveler must download this app and turn on while in Phuket. https://www.gophuget.com. )
With regard to the insurance requirement mentioned above, travellers to Thailand from the USA have found the below Insurance Company was able to provide them with the proper insurance.
First of all my compliments for the great job you deliver with The Midnite Hour. My friends and I really enjoy it!
Question; One of my friends, who lived 18 years in Bangkok, go back to Holland so we decided to do something special for him. We want to make a movie poster of Bangkok for him with of course all the highlights as a great memory.
We already found a photo of the entrance of Soi Cowboy (Soi Asoke entrance), but the resolution of this photo is way too low. So, we want to ask you if you have this photo in good quality. If yes, please send it to me!
I hope you can help us with this. We wish you all the best and keep up the good work!
Apologies for the late reply. The original photo was 'film', and not digital, so (some years ago) I had to scan it to put it up on the site. The pic on the site is the largest I currently have. Just today, I was able to locate the original photographs, so I will now be able to take them down to the IT center for re-scanning. I will then be able to reprocess in PhotoShop as a larger version, however this will take some time, as it is necessary to combine 3 or 4 photos together to get the exposure correct for the entire sign. I will need to wait until the shops open, however, as they are currently closed for CoV-19 lockdown (they may be reopening now...?). As soon as I have the larger version completed I will send to you.
READER : Hi,
My buddy told me about Cowboy Edwards and that got me looking up other expat stories. Is there a good book on the subject - novel or non fiction? Is there one of these stories that you think might form the basis for a good movie or documentary?
A full story on Cowboy Edwards would be hard to come by - I know of no books on him or other such 'pioneers' of Bangkok's Expat Nitescene. The bits and pieces on Cowboy Edwards on the Internet - to include my thumbnails of him are all I am aware of. I first met him after he opened his first Cowboy Bar, branching off from Lorettas (-on what would become 'Soi Cowboy', named after him - although he was not the first bar owner on that Soi by a long shot). See my history on Soi Cowboy. Later, after he went broke by drinking up all the profits (and the bar was taken over by his wife), he opened a second 'Cowboy' bar in Washington Square Night Entertainment Area. I do not have any photos of that bar, nor have I seen any. He went broke there also - having again imbibed all the profits. He then went into a partnership with Grant Francisco to open New Cowboy Bar on Soi 22. However he never came up with his half of the money, and was removed from the partnership by Grant. He became ill and, reportedly, went to the Veterans Hospital in the Philippines, and, again, reportedly, died there. A great guy, a lousy businessman.
There are many 'characters' from that era worthy of a 'story'. Among them are ;
It really depends on the movie(s) or documentaries you might be intending to produce. Too many documentarians have come to Thailand and tried, virtually all of them attempting to accentuate 'prostitutes', 'sex tourism' and sleaze. I am not in favor of this 'take' on the Bangkok's Nightlife; thankfully each of those documentaries having failed ever so righteously. As I am currently working with an Australian producer on documenting some aspects of the Bangkok Nightlife Scene, I will not be able to assist you further at this juncture. Good luck on your pursuits.
The lady in this picture that I have made a red circle around, when did she work in Patpong? How old are these pictures? If not a sensitive issue, I think I know her. Not a boyfriend or husband, etc.
The photos in the above picture, to include the one of the young woman circled in red, are promotional posters and are the sole property of the Patpong Museum. As such we have no knowledge of when the pictures were taken, if the subjects are Thai, or even if the pics were taken in Thailand. Regrets, we are not able to help you identify the 'mystery girl'.
The Madrid and the Safari both show signs of reopening - if, and when. Other than the King's Group bars, it is doubtful any of the other Nitespots will survive what will likely be essentially a 2-year Pandemic.
The below Patpong 1 clip captures the absolute sense of gloom that has gripped the street. (Filmed 31 August 2021 / 17:10 hours.)
Venues in transition or active on or before 31 August 2021 :
*Unnamed massage parlor - (Last known name: "Thai Lady".) Upstairs above Thigh Bar - REMAINS OPEN
In September of 1996, exactly 25 years ago, immediately after the Bua Luang Karaoke 2 closed for the second time, Serge wasted no time grabbing the lease, and opening the Le Bouchon Restaurant & Bar. We just received notice that the Le Bouchon will be closing (and perhaps by the time you read this, it will have already closed). Serge's note below, however, holds out the possibility that it will reopen. We'll keep an ear to the ground, and get back atcha...
Photo and text property of Le Buchon Bar & Restaurant
Likewise, on Patpong 2 Road, it appears that the Pink Panther and the Tavern Two are poised for survival - if - and when - the Pandemic winds down. However, this will be entirely dependent upon both the Coronavirus and the Government'sCoronaphobia. A wait-and-see item...
Venues remaining open or in transition on or before 31 August 2021 :
Pre-Covid-19 the Stumble Inn was one of the more popular bars facing out of Nana Plaza. Regulars are hoping it will survive the Pandemic. Nana Plaza itself remains completely closed, save a skeleton crew of security types...
Two of the string of four bars where Soi 6 joins Soi Nana have already closed permanently. It remains to be seen if the other two (Bangcockney Bar and Hang Out Pub) will be able to outlast the Coronavirus lockdown.
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
The Chaos 9 Food & Drink and the next door V Good Massage were closed on 31 August. It may be the V Good Massage will have opened on 1 September - we'll get back atcha with any changes next issue...
SOI NANA - (SOI 4 SUKHUMVIT)
Venues in transition on or before 31 July 2021 :
*Charmming Massage - STILL OPEN
*Nit Massage - OPEN
*(A Bar Beer - no sign) - At Soi 6 Junction - CLOSED PERMANENTLY
This photo of Soi Katoey (Silom Soi 4) was taken literally on the run, and in the rain at 8:30 p.m, so even if any restaurants were open, they would have already closed and gone home to beat the 9:00 p.m. curfew of the current Night Entertainment lockdown. If necessary we will correct our status next issue. Needless to say, Soi Katoey was completely blacked out, the Sunshine Tacos on Silom Road providing the only source of light. Passing overhead (mid-photo) is the last SkyTrain for the evening.
Our Place, one of Soi 7 Plaza's pioneer bars has given up the ghost. They have already removed their chrome barstools and colored lights (and other chattel), and headed for higher ground. Better luck on the rebound, gents (and ladies)...
SOI 7 PLAZA
The Drop In Bar is making no pretenses - they just went ahead and reopened. Welcome them back to hard times... Let's hope they remain well below the radar.
SOI 7 PLAZA
The on-again, off-again Soi 7 Bier Garten has re-reopened. Not busy, just reopened. Darkened frontage - Modus Operandi: "Speakeasy".
SOI 7 PLAZA
Venues remaining open or in transition on or before 01 September 2021 :
es, contrary to a commonly held belief, Bangkok had a Nitescene prior to the R&R years - to include a large selection of 'feeelm' from abroad. A look back at 1964 will interest the historian as well as the cinema-buff. While there were other theaters in Bangkok in '64, the 7 theaters featured herein were the main source of English-speaking (or subtitled) films for Bangkok's expats and tourists.
Each of these grand old theaters has long ago closed it's doors, many (if not all) no longer exist - having made way for condominiums and such. For those who were not here in the 1960's, or who may have forgotten, the "Cinema Experience" was quite different than that enjoyed today. Let's start with buying a ticket. There were no telephonic or Internet reservations, one would have to go to the theater and get in whichever queue at the window selling tickets in your price range - 20 baht, 30 baht or 40 baht. If you waited through the line and the time slot you wanted was sold out, you just bought a ticket for the next showing, and went somewhere nearby for dinner.
There was always another line for "advanced bookings" - should you, say, stop by the theater in the morning, you could buy tickets for the 5:00 p.m.. show for that day (and that day only). Take it from us - this system worked much better than today's "automated" ticketing systems, and those queuing up trying to decide which "promotion" they want to use (or to sign up for a newer promotion), or spending five minutes hemming and hawing, trying to decide which of their credit cards they want to use... you get the picture...
Getting to and from the theater was also a different experience - taxis, if you could find one, were undersized Japanese or French in origin, a real pain to get in, and out of. They had no air conditioning or meters - you haggled for the fare (good experience here). (Sorry Buttercups, no Grab either...) Or you could go by Sam Lor (Tuk-Tuk), which was always more enjoyable. Or, like Bernard Trink, you could memorize the bus routes, and for 1 Baht 50 satang, get fairly near your destination theater.
Once in the theater (1960's), you would show the usher your ticket (-we are betting you all had forgotten about 'theater ushers'...) - and he, with his small flashlight, would show you to your seat. And for a small tip, he would run out and buy you a beer, or whatever. So-far, so-good... But the theaters were "Smoking" - sometimes the cigarette smoke was so thick it would be difficult to see the screen clearly. Bringing in food from outside was not only allowed, it was nearly universal - to include grilled squid (which you could smell from the back row). But back then, these things were taken for granted - only now can we look back to those 'Good Old Days', parts of which weren't all that "Good".
There were always a couple of theaters which had a "Midnight Show". These were very popular with the late-night crowd - the cine-buffs or those on a late date - as the theaters often had advance showings of films - often a week or two before they ran in the theaters in the normal time slots. But more importantly, often before the local censors got their filthy little hands on them...
A big part of "A Night Out At The Movies" was after the show let out - it was time to eat again (This Is Thailand....). Among the best places to go in the wee hours were the kerbside khao tom stalls - Pratu Nam and the Rajdamnern Road areas had some of the most popular spots, staying open until the sun came up, or until there were no more customers....whichever came first.
*CJ Pub & Restaurant - NEW - in the old Lanna Bar & Restaurant location. It was located at the side fence - 'Plaza side'.
*Night Fever - CLOSED - It was located on the "Island" - Asoke Plaza side.
*The Golden Elephant - CLOSED - It was located on the Asoke Corner, right side.
* (An unnamed Bar Beer) - NEW - It was located on the Asoke Corner, right side.
*Shagnasty's - NEW - It was located on the Asoke Corner, right side.
* (An unnamed Bar Beer) - NEW - It was located on the Asoke Corner, left side.
*Spankys - ADDED - "Bar" to become Spanky's Bar.
*Naughty Bar - NEW - It was located in the 8-Pak, Soi 23 side.
*Sweet Heart - NEW - It was located in the 8-Pak, Soi 23 side.
*Miaw Witch Bar - NEW - It was located in the 8-Pak, Soi 23 side.
*Oasis - NEW - It was located in the 8-Pak, Soi 23 side.
*B-52 II - NEW - It was located in the 8-Pak, Soi 23 side.
(Total Nitespots that month: 42 )
Nana Plaza September 2001
* Up on the 2nd / 3rd level, the Vixens - Rock Hard opened newly -- and/or reopened (the previous month "Vixens" closed).. It was located where today's The Balcony Bar is (should it reopen after Covid)...
(Total Nitespots that month: 41 )
Soi Katoey ( Silom Soi 4 )
*White Bar opened newly in the previous 114 Club digs. It was located just past today's Banana Room Club - should it reopen after Covid-19.
*Exposure closed. It was located just past Kool Spot, now also closed.
(Total Nitespots that month: 11 )
Soi Dead Artists ( Sukhumvit Soi 33 )
* The Unnamed venue located downstairs in the Peep In Park was being renovated that month.
* The Guden Guden on the 2nd level of Peep In Park closed. No Nitespot currently occupies that space.
*Madame Claude opened in the rear of 33 Complex. Previously home to 33 House Karaoke. That complex is currently a new construction site.
(Total Nitespots that month: 36 )
Buckskin Joe Village (~ December 1988 to 9 June 2006)
(Also called 'Tobacco Road', 'Soi Rot Fai', 'The Tracks', 'Soi Zero' & 'Machim' [Thai] )
*Mad Dogs reopened after a 1-month closure.. (At the front, just behind Morgan Bar.)
(Total Nitespots that month: 18 )
Washington Square (~ April 1999 to April 2014)
* - No changes that month / year.
(Total Nitespots that month: 17 )
(Originally ''Entertainment Plaza'')
[ ~February 1999to June 2003 ]
Amid a crackdown that month, the following A Go-Go's & Bars closed -
* The White House A Go Go *Rock Hard Beer Bar Bangkok.
*Hollywood A Go Go East.
*The Candy Store.
(Total Nitespots that month: 18 )
''13 Night Market'' Entertainment Area
(Originally 'Old Thermae Compound')
[ April 2000 - March 2005 ]
Dateline: 26 August 2021
In a major police dragnet last Thursday, New York City'sThin Blue Line despatched dozens of officers, vehicles, a helicopter and a drone to the vicinity of 67 West Street in Greenpoint, while simultaneously cordoning off several adjacent streets. The cause for the major swoop was a report they received from a concerned citizen that a graffiti artist was in the process of tagging a nearby water tower.
To ensure nothing went haywire in their multi-pronged operation, Gotham's Finest also sent a number of plain-clothes units to assist in the surrounding of the water tower. And just for good measure, they also closed down the nearby American Playground.
Manhunt in progress...
When police approached the water tower, the graffiti artist (still at the top) initially refused to come down. Main-force officers surrounding the water tower revealed to journalists they were 'cornering' the suspect. It would be hard to argue that a lone man atop a water tower was in fact not cornered, so the journalists did not persist with that line of inquiry. In all fairness to the phalanx of heavily armedMen In Blue, it was only then that they summoned in the helicopter and the drone to assist in the operation. After an hours-long standoff, the graffiti artist, heavily armed with paint brushes, descended and was immediately taken into custody.
The offending Mario Bros style question mark...
In the face of scathing ridicule by the Media and social media for outrageous squandering of the City's manpower and resources, the NYPD exhibited not a scintilla of embarrassment. Quite the opposite - they, of course, doubled down - an official police spokesperson said they would be widening their dragnet to determine if there were any similar heinous incidents of graffiti to be able to add to their currently pending charges against the suspect. ...Yes, really....
Roadblocks securly in place
Not quite done, Wilson Arambloes from Police Emergency Servicestripled down, publicly praising the officers involved for resolving the case in a highly professional manner without any further serious consequences. After which their Public Relations team refused to respond to repeated questions regarding their lightning response and decisive and timely closing-out of the case. Another catastrophically catastrophic inner-city catastrophe nipped in the bud.... According to an unofficial estimate, the NYPD juggernaut cost New York taxpayers a cool $500,000. As far as we know, the roadblocks have been removed and the playground has reopened. New York, New York, indeed...
Bangkok Eyes adheres to a single, comprehensive definition of Graffiti :
"Unauthorized, often illegal markings on another's property."
Bangkok Eyes does not support or advocate any illegal activity. Content herein showcases the ongoing controversy over Graffiti in our Society and is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only.
At The Fantasy Zoo
8 ft high x 9 ft
6 ft high x 4 ft
8 ft high x 23 ft
King Of Hearts
8 ft high x 11 ft
8 ft high x 25 ft
7 ft high x 23 ft
Shoop Shoop Song
7 ft high x 9 ft
Bangkok Eyes is an historically based news outlet, and as such, all graphic excerpts herein are considered, under current legal precedents and
prevailing interpretations, 'Fair Use' under Copyright Law. Copyright of any original artwork resides exclusively with the artists.
Bangkok's original site !
The MIDNITE HOUR Graffiti Page is prepared by Staff Contributor "Boge" Hartman.
(Boge's photo, above, is not a graffitiper-se, although there are those who have insinuated....